3 Core Business Drivers That Can Be Enhanced and Scaled Through Digital Learning

07/13/2016 01:07 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017
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By Andrew Fayad

As we continue into 2016, creative agencies like mine, which specializes in eLearning solutions, are taking a much more modern UI/UX approach to creating impactful digital learning experiences that work. Based on my expertise in the eLearning arena, here are three business processes where digital learning can catalyze results:

1. Sales and Product Knowledge

According to Salesforce Training, about half of all sales managers are too busy to train and develop their sales team, and of the training conducted, about 84 percent of all sales training retention is lost after 90 days. There's a need to replicate valuable training from sales managers that builds over time to maintain retention.

The solution is a blended approach of ILT (instructor-led training) and microlearning (short, relevant content bursts repeated over time). Most often, sales training is an instructor-led event that lasts several hours, jampacking information into a session that eventually gets lost. But by using short videos focused on the most important information that slowly builds upon itself over time, salespeople have higher retention, plus a reference to go back to at any point. Sales managers should also combine these videos with in-person simulations and knowledge checks for the best results. This gives sales managers back their time, and solves diminishing retention.

ADP coaches their sales associates on managing virtual teams and time management. The results show that participants in the training see an average of 7 percent growth in sales.

2. Millennial Onboarding and Retention

Gallup's latest report, "How Millennials Want to Work and Live," shows that six out of 10 millennials are open to different job opportunities. One report sets the cost of replacing a millennial hire anywhere between $15,000 and $25,000. Millennials are taking over a big part of the workforce, and companies that want to continue to grow and thrive need to shift their current strategies for employee retention.

If you want to keep your millennial hires on board for the long haul, you'll need to focus on how you introduce new hires to your organization - and not just when it comes to job training. Onboard millennials the same way they consume social media and entertainment: with short, self-led, online modules they can access 24/7. Millennials are mobile, so make sure the delivery method is viewable on mobile devices, and make sure to delve into more than just their role. Introduce employees to the company and the greater vision. Millennials also value mentorship, so pair modules with some face-to-face time with senior employees.

Adobe realized that a big part of developing millennial leaders involved keeping them engaged and excited during their first few months. In response, they implemented a new hire orientation program that was fully digital and highly interactive. New hires had more fun and felt more engaged with the brand from the beginning.

3. Leadership and Soft Skill Building

global workforce leadership survey interviewing more than 700 leaders in talent and learning management revealed some fairly grim news for the current state of leadership. The survey revealed that nearly half of companies say leadership is the hardest skill to find, yet only 39 percent offer leadership development programs. Of the programs that exist, only 15 percent of employees felt the training they received prepared them as a leader.

Millennials understand that great leadership stems from a combination of soft skills. They don't just want to lead, but they want to inspire, teach, and spark innovation. The reality is: the future of leadership is at risk for all businesses, from your mom-and-pop store to Coca-Cola.

For leadership training to be effective, the first thing that needs to shift is content. It should focus on a new, transformative type of leadership model that appeals to the millennial leader. A higher focus on building the necessary batch of soft skills to inspire action in others is also a must in these programs.

Microlearning is a great approach to delivering content in short bursts (think of Tasty videos) that build skills over time. Today's workforce is overloaded and overwhelmed with information already, and microlearning provides a welcomed break that plays to a short attention span and works through repetition over time. It's also important to note that any program implemented needs to be consistent.

Deloitte, the second largest professional services network in the world, launched a digital executive training program called "The Deloitte Leadership Academy." Its goal was to make training more accessible for employees by utilizing top content from business schools like Harvard and Stanford. The program delivers lessons to 50,000-plus executives in over 150 companies worldwide.

Arie de Geus, a Dutch business theorist, famously said, "The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage." If you are hitting a roadblock in your business, learning-based solutions can greatly assist the core drivers your business depends on.

Andrew Fayad is the CEO and managing partner of eLearning Mind, an interactive creative agency focused on digital learning that helps companies transform their existing learning materials into memorable and engaging e-learning experiences.